Sydney chef Kerby Craig – founder of Ume – tragically dies aged 38


Top chef and founder of an iconic Sydney fusion burger chain mysteriously dies at the age of 38 – two years after assaulting his girlfriend in a jealous rage: ‘Words can barely express our grief’

  • Seven-hat chef Kerby Craig suddenly and unexpectedly died at age 38
  • His staff say they are ‘bereft and heartbroken’ following tragic announcement
  • Craig overturned a conviction for assaulting his girlfriend in 2021
  • He admitted to assault and was on a two-year corrections order at time of death
  • Do you know more? Email brittany.chain@mailonline.com 

Pictured: Kerby Craig

A Sydney chef who has worked in Michelin star restaurants throughout the United Kingdom and Canada has died.

Kerby Craig unexpectedly died on June 9, just days before the 10 year anniversary of launching his Japanese fusion burger chain, Ume.

‘Words can barely express our grief,’ a tribute posted to Ume’s social media channel read.

‘He was driven and free-spirited, pursuing his goals with a determination very few people possess.’

Craig’s staff say they are ‘bereft’ and ‘heartbroken’ after his death, adding: ‘He was our everything’.

‘Kerby created a living legacy that tens of thousands of foodies have experienced and loved, and will continue to across two landmark venues with a future vision we hope to deliver on.’

Friends have remembered Craig as an ‘outspoken, passionate, caring, loyal and charismatic larrikin’, who was ‘larger than life’. 

Craig was a celebrated chef in the Sydney food scene and ran a successful Japanese burger chain with stores throughout the city.

He first launched his career at just 15 years old, when he dropped out of school and began working under famed Japanese-Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda.

After a stint in London honing his craft, Craig returned to Sydney and nabbed a job as head chef at Koi in Woolwich, where he earned a total of six hats.

He later earned a seventh hat – his first doubling as chef and owner – with Ume.  

Kerby Craig unexpectedly died on June 9, just days before the 10 year anniversary of launching his Japanese fusion burger chain, Ume

Kerby Craig unexpectedly died on June 9, just days before the 10 year anniversary of launching his Japanese fusion burger chain, Ume

Craig was hopeful 2022 would be ‘his year’ after a tough two years enduring Covid lockdowns as a restaurant owner. 

‘F**k 2021… It was tough. 2022 has got to be the year. It can’t get worse, right?’ he said just days before the New Year.

It wasn’t the first time Craig had discussed the impact the pandemic had on him.  

The 38-year-old successfully overturned an assault conviction in 2021 after he was found to have attacked his girlfriend in a ‘jealous rage’.

Craig’s lawyers had cited the immense pressure of Covid and subsequent economic downturn in contributing to the one-off offence. 

He demanded his girlfriend turn over her phone and accused her of having an affair when she did not do so. 

At the time, the court heard Craig had ‘grabbed a kitchen knife and threatened self-harm’ moments before the incident took place. 

The conviction was overturned but Craig was subject to a two year community corrections order after the offending.

After a stint in London honing his craft, Craig returned to Sydney and nabbed a job as head chef at Koi in Woolwich, where he earned a total of six hats

After a stint in London honing his craft, Craig returned to Sydney and nabbed a job as head chef at Koi in Woolwich, where he earned a total of six hats



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